Local ICT companies look to Asia

Local ICT companies look to Asia

Director, Drew Arthur, admitted language was the biggest challenge but said translation services were broadly available.

He claimed China's Internet infrastructure was better than that in many other countries Micronet works in.

"We are used to these types of challenges in a small business environment - it's just part of the game," he said. Micronet is now working on developing multilingual versions of its software products.

"There's plenty of opportunity to employ people in China without necessarily partnering - we've not decided our strategy yet," Arthur said.

Text messaging software provider, Red Oxygen, has 14 staff and sells product locally as well as in Europe and the US. CEO, Tom Sheahan, said the US and Europe are easier places to navigate than Asia - China because of the language challenges and India because of cultural differences. But the size of the Asian markets was a major draw card.

"There's 16 billion phones in China, India has 600-700 million. And there are no Blackberrys - Asian corporates are using text messages to communicate," Sheahan said. "IBM is now helping us sell our software in India and China and we've just landed a deal with an operator in India."

Mobile payments developer, Mint Wireless, is looking to leverage existing partnerships with Optus/SingTel as well as Microsoft to grow its Asian presence, initially in Singapore.

"The CommunicAsia show has been a resounding success for us... it's opened up my eyes. The people in this region are fast movers and their adoption of technology much quicker compared to Western economies," CEO, Alex Teoh, said.

Ingram and Stanilewicz agreed language barriers made it difficult for Australian companies to break into Asia but claimed partnering was one way to overcome difficulties.

"The most successful companies are the most persistent and those that come prepared with examples of who they have worked with previously," Stanilewicz said. "It's about building relationships and being here for the long haul.

"We still have to work hard to brand Australian ICT in the region and overcome the perception of Australia as a producer of food, commodities and education."

Ingram admitted there were also valid concerns around intellectual property but said these shouldn't be a "deal breaker" for companies that undertook due diligence and paid attention to IP protection.

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